NEW SCARRIET POEM: THE SPELL

frederic_leighton_1_flaming_june

The Spell

Heaven, in love, to fall asleep!
Hell, in love, to lie awake and weep!
Love is sleep, a divine sleep,
Where beauty is the dream,
Where nothing beautiful goes, but it returns,
Where beauty is beautiful because it yearns
For the same loveliness to always keep
Its vision, as the moon’s cloudy beam
Keeps lit the evening cloud,
Far above the wakeful and the proud.

Heaven, in love, to lie awake
Only for the beloved’s sake
In a spell that cannot break,
So tender is the spell, and small,
The sighing hardly apparent at all
In her breath’s dear rise and fall,
You cannot escape its beauty that surrounds
Your bed with sweetly whispered sounds,
Oblivious to the world that weeps,
For it sleeps.

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7 Comments

  1. David said,

    February 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Interesting to compare this to a poem by Tomas Tranströmer:

    The Couple

    They turn out the lamplight, and its white globe
    glimmers for a moment: an aspirin rising and falling
    then dissolving in a glass of darkness. Around them,
    the hotel walls slide like a back-drop up into the night sky.

    Love’s drama has died down, and they’re sleeping now,
    but their dreams will meet as colours meet
    and bleed into each other
    in the dampened pages of a child’s painting-book.

    All around is dark, and silent. The city has drawn in,
    extinguishing its windows. The houses have approached.
    They crowd in close, attentive:
    this audience of cancelled faces.

    –Translated by Robin Robertson

  2. David said,

    February 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Where beauty is beautiful because it yearns
    For the same loveliness to always keep
    Its vision, as the moon’s cloudy beam
    Keeps lit the evening cloud

    compared to …

    They turn out the lamplight, and its white globe
    glimmers for a moment: an aspirin rising and falling
    then dissolving in a glass of darkness.

    or

    The sighing hardly apparent at all
    In her breath’s dear rise and fall,
    You cannot escape its beauty that surrounds
    Your bed with sweetly whispered sounds,
    Oblivious to the world that weeps,
    For it sleeps.

    compared to …

    All around is dark, and silent. The city has drawn in,
    extinguishing its windows. The houses have approached.
    They crowd in close, attentive:
    this audience of cancelled faces.

    I like the Tranströmer poem and do not offer it up for ridicule. Yet I think that the comparison might be instructive.

  3. thomasbrady said,

    February 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks, David,

    It makes we wonder what the original Transtromer sounds like.

    Transtromer’s oblivion is more ambitious and complicated than mine.

    Tom

  4. David said,

    February 28, 2012 at 6:35 am

    A better echo still …

    My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
    As it is lasting, so be deep!

  5. R said,

    February 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I’m looking forward to the next installment: The Smell.

    • thomasbrady said,

      February 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      ‘installment’

      such an ugly word

  6. R said,

    February 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    death on the installment plan? that’s a great title!


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